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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Clayton Utz

05 March 2012

This Australian firm is home to Doug Jones, peripatetic president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators for 2011

People in Who’s Who:
1
Pending cases as counsel:
5
Treaty cases:
0
Current arbitrator appointments:
12 (of which 8 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
1

As president of CIArb for the past year, Jones filed “dispatches” for GAR about his travels to diverse jurisdictions to promote arbitration.

Clayton Utz, however, belongs firmly to international arbitration in Australia. It’s one of the few local practices with a big name.

The firm started practising in the area of international arbitration in the 1980s. Its expertise evolved thanks to its market-leading position for advice on major engineering works locally – public infrastructure, energy and similar private projects. The arbitral instructions were about hydroelectric schemes, oil and gas and mining projects.

Since then, the range of work has expanded and taken the team offshore.

One client is the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation, which it has now defended successfully in a number of disputes relating to a US$16 billion project. A range of construction firms, infrastructure developers, steel producers, mining companies, governmental entities, tech firms and banks have used it too.

The practice grew under the leadership of Jones and (former partner) Michael Pryles, who left the firm in 2009 after many years to become chair of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. Since Pryles’ departure, Jones has stepped up both in the firm and in the wider Australian arbitration community, in which he’s very prominent. He also practises as an arbitrator outside Australia. He leads the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration and has been appointed on to serve on the ICSID and LCIA panels. He also finds time to lecture at various universities, including Oxford.

The firm runs an annual arbitration lecture. Jones’ final “dispatch” for GAR was about the 10th Clayton Utz lecture.

Recent events

In Sydney, John Rowland QC, formerly a barrister at 4 Pump Court in London, joined as a partner, while Björn Gehle, who practised at the firm for almost nine years, left to join Pinsent Masons in Dubai.

Meanwhile, in the Hong Kong office, which opened last year, the firm added lawyers and says that the local arbitration team is now 13 strong.

The firm represented Michael Wilson & Partners in its case against three former employees. In a precedent setting appeal, Australia’s highest court ruled that it is not an abuse of process to bring domestic litigation and foreign arbitration proceedings on the same facts against related respondents. Sydney-based partner Sid Wang handled the case and described the judgment as being representative of “a maturing of international arbitration law in Australia”.

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